BEDMINSTER, Pa. (AP) — A hunter who fatally shot a teenager he apparently mistook for an animal at a state park has been charged with homicide and weapons counts.
52-year-old Kenneth Troy Heller of Warminster, made his initial court appearance Wednesday and was jailed after the judge denied him bail. It wasn’t known if Heller retained an attorney.
The shooting occurred Oct. 24 in Nockamixon State Park, which straddles the towns of Bedminster and Haycock.
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub says he believes Heller thought he was firing at an animal and didn’t intentionally shoot 18-year-old Jason Kutt of Sellersville.
Kutt, a 2020 graduate of Pennridge High School, was shot as he and his girlfriend were sitting and waiting for the sun to set in the park. He was taken to St. Luke’s University Hospital, Fountain Hill, where he was pronounced dead.
Kutt’s girlfriend described to investigators a hunter in orange near a gate along Old Ridge Road where the shooting occurred, according to Weintraub. That turned out to be Heller, the district attorney said.
Investigators in the days after the shooting asked for the public’s help in tracking down the perpetrator and released the descriptions of three vehicles seen in the area at the time. One of them was Heller’s, Weintraub said.
But Heller did not come forward, according to Weintraub. Rather, someone close to Heller who’d seen the news about the killing relayed what had happened to a friend out of state, and that friend then contacted authorities “and told us where our focus potentially should be,” Weintraub said.
THE LATEST FROM WTAJ:
- 4,045 new COVID cases reported, 247 in our central region on Jan. 18
- Biden inauguration rehearsal evacuated after fire in homeless camp
- LIVE: DC parade celebrates iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
- Midday Forecast, Monday January 18, 2021
- Newsfeed Now: US Capitol temporarily locked down, terminally ill man gets matching tattoos with strangers